Is it possible to not have a bit of a crush on Blake Lively? Signs point to no¬--but we're not the only ones who are smitten! Vogue's impenetrable Anna Wintour seems to be quite taken with this golden girl, giving her the magazine's coveted cover twice in the last two years (and a third turn is reportedly in the works). Karl Lagerfeld adores the leggy blonde too; who could overlook the slew of photo ops he took with Lively last summer when she was cavorting around Paris shooting the current season of Gossip Girl? But while these two are more recent Lively lovers, we've been watching this bright star since her first twinkle. From her spry beginnings as soccer star/promiscuous teen Bridget in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants to her current role on GG as the sometimes lost, but always impeccably turned-out Serena van der Woodsen, we've enjoyed her career choices every step of the way. In addition to supporting Lively's professional path, we've also admired her wardrobe¬--to say the least¬--from the swoon-worthy frocks she selects for red-carpet events to her flawlessly executed off-duty ensembles.
When considering the actress' personal style, it's definitely worth noting that she has a penchant for killer, ripped-from-the-runway outfits that endlessly flatter her enviable figure. Lively's selections are decidedly of-the-moment, but they are also, in a certain way, quite classic too. Don't get us wrong: we realize that the Town star routinely reaches for statement-making, markedly un-minimalistic frocks. Yet her go-to fashion formula of a dangerously feminine dress + vertiginous stilettos + one statement bauble always adds up to a timeless, glamorous look. Additionally, while Lively has helped pioneer the pony-braid as an essential eveningwear accompaniment, her overall beauty look is effortless and lets her shiny blonde locks and radiant visage shine through. It's this vibrant mix of youthful energy and straightforward, accessible personal style that make the lovely Lively the perfect subject for today's Style Spotlight.
As mentioned, one of the things we find most fantastic about Lively's signature sartorial sensibilities is her ability to pick out a truly unique and eye-catching dress, flawlessly accent it with a lust-worthy pair of heels, and subsequently polish off the whole ensemble with some knockout jewels. Take for example, the eggplant tulle and black lace Elie Saab Dress ($3500)¬--Look 53 from the F/W 10 collection¬--she selected to attend a viewing of Tiffany & Co.'s Spring 2011 Eyewear Collection in New York earlier this fall (bottom row, center). Not only is this runway stunner right on-trend with the season's sultry and decadent looks, but the mix of ribbon paneling, lace, and tulle is also quite breathtaking. Plus, we admire Lively's choice to layer on the intrigue by pairing it with the sexy, fishnet Fetilo Pumps ($945, 212.396.1884) from Christian Louboutin. Rather than distracting from the beauty of the fancy frock with excessive jewels and fussy hair, she opted for a simple Tiffany & Co. Heart Lock necklace (which will be available for purchase in February) and an off-duty side braid, and then added a little bit of edge with nearly noir nails. Adhering to this polished formula once again¬--and opting for another off-the-F/W-10-runway Elie Saab Dress ($7650)¬--Lively looked just as lovely when she made an appearance on the The Late Show with David Letterman earlier this fall (top row, far left). On this occasion, she played up the dramatic glam factor of her glittering frock by selecting purple perspex-heeled Charlotte Olympia Esmerelda Court Shoes ($1222) and subsequently tempered the vamp-factor with an easy-breezy ponytail. We appreciate how she once again kept the jewelry to a minimum, opting for a single Lorraine Schwartz Ofira Ring (646.274.2008).
Yet, this Gossip Girl isn't only spotted in seductive after-hours attire¬--au contraire! Like the professional clothing-chameleon she is, Lively knows when to play her ing√©nue card. For example, for Chanel's Haute Couture show at the Grand Palais earlier this summer, she traded in her vixen-esque cocktail dresses for an ethereal, floral column frock from the famed fashion house's Resort 2011 collection (top row, right). Lively upgraded the floaty, St. Tropez-worthy dress by accessorizing with Christian Louboutin's Alta Spritney Sling-Back Shoes ($895, 702.818.1650) and finished the look with Lorraine Schwartz's Turquoise and Coral Earrings (646.274.2008), which further complement the frilly frock's sur-le-bord-du-mer aesthetic. She also opted for a perky palette last month at the Live! With Regis and Kelly show when she paired Matthew Williamson's Armour Beading Jacket and Paper Leather Pencil Skirt ($1700) from his S/S 10 runway collection with Christian Louboutin's Rolando Pumps ($1195, 305.576.6820) (far right). While, unfortunately, these stellar pieces are no longer available, the Napa Leather Pencil Skirt ($1795, 212.255.9881), Sequin Trophy Jacket ($4495, 212.255.9881), and Metallic Beaded Jacket ($3595, 212.255.9881), all from Matthew Williamson's F/W 10 collection are spot-on designer replacements of these spell-binding pieces.
Finally, while Lively clearly flips for a good leg-baring hemline, she has also proven she can just as flawlessly execute a pants-minded ensemble. Case in point: to attend a recent press conference at the Toronto Film Festival for her winter thriller Town, she skipped the thigh-skimming skirts and opted for Preen's Bloom Blouse ($1437) and Black Obi Pants ($1257), Look 23, from their S/S 10 collection instead (bottom row, far left). Perfectly on-point for the professional nature of the event, the chic karate pants and broad-shouldered button-down's architectural lines and intriguing textural mix offers an added layer of sartorial sophistication. Furthermore, we appreciate how she put her own, youthful spin on this smartly dressed look by selecting festive turquoise jewelry and by incorporating one of fall's biggest trends¬--animal accents¬--via her Pigalle Point-Toe Pumps ($995, 212.396.1884) from Christian Louboutin. Lastly, Lively demonstrated that while she can't part with her near-and-dear Louboutins¬--this time the Bibi Pumps ($795)¬--she can create a marvelous off-duty look. As demonstrated when she was spotted leaving her The Late Show with David Letterman cameo this fall (bottom, right), Lively paired a Gucci Leather Trench Coat ($4990) with J Brand 901 Leggings ($158) in Seal, and her coveted Loubs (bottom row, right). The rising star looked the very picture of transitional weather chic, providing us with an ensemble example we can't wait to recreate!
On that note, we have a few suggestions so that you, too, can snag some of Lively's bombshell basics. If you're already gearing up for the holidays or just have a sizzling Girls' Night Out ahead of you, we'd suggest taking a page from our style star's lookbook and go for a sparkly black or rich purple mini-dress. We like Arden B.'s One Shoulder Sequin Tunic ($79) to give off that haute shoulder, or French Connection's Samantha Dress ($298) for a more Balmain-inspired silhouette. Another great festive frock, this time in a luscious eggplant hue, is Tibi's Silk Beaded Party Dress ($378). Finish off any of these winter-ready minis with Elizabeth and James' Mason Haircalf Platform Pumps ($395) and you'll have a lovely, Lively-esque ensemble that will definitely make heads turn. Next, if you feel like channeling the classic beauty's wide-eyed gamine style (ideal for a daytime wedding or ladies' luncheon) try pairing Matthew Williamson's Blur Lace Silk-Chiffon Column Gown ($1460) with Calvin Klein's Pretty T-Strap Pumps ($159). Alternatively, if you're eager to recreate an ensemble akin to Lively's own Matthew Williamson outfit, opt for Diane von Furstenberg's Pintura Top ($265) in Meral Roses with Grey Antics Drape Ponte Skirt ($108) and a clean, slick-backed ponytail for a dose of youthful polish.
If you, like our style subject, want to mix it up and work in some pants options with your killer frocks, we have a few ideas for you, too! Wild about the off-the-runway Preen outfit Lively selected for her Town press conference? We suggest pairing By Malene Birger's Liton Blouse with Shoulder Pads ($395) with Topshop's Drape Pocket Hareem Trousers ($80) for a spot-on replication. Accent the look √† la Lively with Vince Camuto's Rues Pumps ($98) or Nine West's Sharina Pumps ($69)¬--both ideal pieces for indulging in the season's must-have print. Finally, to score our muse's most casual ensemble presented to you today, pair your favorite denim jeggings, like Joe's Jeans Zip Denim Leggings ($98) or Forever 21's Fab Essential Jeggings ($14.50), with the lust-worthy Biba Leather Trench Coat ($2450) from Joseph. Slip on Pour La Victoire's Irina Suede Pumps ($250) and cozy up with Nordstrom's Plaid Scarf ($38) and the next Gossip Girl blast will be oozing compliments about your Lively-approved style!¬--Liza Kaplan